The 2021 MotoGP season has been a real thriller so far – even for MotoGP’s high standards. The first nine races of the season have seen five different winners from four different producers. Some 25 of the 26 riders have already taken World Championship points. The Qatar GP was the closest in history, with the first 15 riders – all those who won points – separated by just 8.9 seconds! One single MotoGP race has more overtaking than some other series have in a whole year. Wheel-to-wheel racing with slanting turns that see knees and elbows touch the ground, and almost the shoulders at times, splendid recovery manoeuvres and incredible braking. MotoGP is not a sport designed to keep spectators on their seats.
Leading the World Championship is France’s Fabio Quartararo, but he needs to watch out as the Red Bull Ring is not regarded as a circuit that suits his Yamaha. The World Championship standings could move much closer together during the back-to-back Grand Prix at Spielberg.
Another fascinating element is that Marc Márquez, who has dominated the sport in recent years, has been able to use the summer break to recover more from a niggling arm injury. Added to that is KTM making a huge technical leap in recent weeks and months, as was shown by Miguel Oliveira’s win in Barcelona.
The Red Bull KTM teams are among the contenders to win in all three categories. The races at the Red Bull Ring are like home races for the riders with the grandstands packed with orange. We can’t forget the emotions from last year when Miguel Oliveira took the first win for Red Bull KTM Tech3 – with a spectacular and incredibly clever manoeuvre in the final curve that saw him see off Ducati’s Jack Miller and Pol Espargaró of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. (Anyone who wants to try to recreate his move can book a ride on Miguel’s Moto2 KTM at the Red Bull Ring – more info here).
In the Moto3 class there is a local hero looking to continue the long tradition of motorcycle riders from Upper Austria – 20-year-old Max Kofler. Gustl Auinger, the Riding Coach of the Red Bull Rookies Cup and Servus TV pundit is also from the region, as is Mike Leitner, who after a successful race career is now Race Manager of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Andy Preining, a successful private rider in the 1990s.
There are few who can touch his greatness. Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi is one of the greatest and most colourful personalities around elite sport in general, not just motorsport. The Doctor is now 42 years old and has announced his intention to field his own MotoGP team next season. Will he sit on the saddle himself? It’s unlikely. The two races at the Red Bull Ring this summer are quite possibly the last chance to see one of the greatest heroes of all time in action.
Then there is also Marc Márquez, of course, the friendly and cheerful character from Cervera near Barcelona. The eight-time World Champion had to miss the entire last season due to injury and is only slowly recovering his old strength, as shown by his win at the German GP. Being able to see number 93 (Márquez) together with number 46 (Rossi) in person in a race at the Red Bull Ring is something you might well get to tell the grandchildren about!
Some potential future superstars will also start at the Red Bull Ring. There are two rookies that are currently creating a sensation in the smaller classes. In Moto2 there is Raul Fernandez, who is being guided by Austrian Hannes Kinigadner. The 20-year-old Spaniard is such a natural talent that he has already sealed a MotoGP contract for 2022 with Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, no less.
The big sensation in Moto3 is 17-year-old Pedro Acosta, also a Spaniard and a rookie who is in action for Red Bull KTM. No matter if he is at the end of the field or has to start in the pit lane, this young man can twist his way through his opponents with a rare sense of ease and wins races at will. You have to see it to believe it, and ideally live in person.
For both weekends it is worth arriving on Thursday in order to take part in the free Pit Lane Tour. Along with MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3, the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup will be held, as is tradition, and for the first time the Austrian Junior Cup, which aims to find the next local Marc Márquez, as well as the Northern Talent Cup. The fans on the grandstands will therefore have action to enjoy virtually around the clock for three days.
It’s all going off away from the racing circuit too. There will be a party at the Spielberg MotoGP Bike City with DJ acts, along with motocross and stunt shows plus exhibitions. There will also be a Virtual Styrian Green Carpet again, of course, where you can meet the stars online. The best digital companion is the Projekt Spielberg App, which provides all the news and updates on the MotoGP weekends.
There are still tickets available for the big events in August – get your tickets here! You are required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative Covid test to access the circuit.